FORT WAYNE – Government officials may be a bit too optimistic in their corn forecast, a local ag leader says.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says farmers will come through with the predicted corn crop despite the Midwests wet spring that delayed planting.
Some states – including Michigan, Nebraska and Texas – planted more corn than expected, which should make up for the loss in Iowa, the nations leading corn producer.
Roger Hadley, president of Allen County Farm Bureau, isnt so sure.
Even with Nebraska, which is one of the leading corn-producing states, I still have a hard time believing those other states can make up for Iowa, he said. Don Villwock, the president of the Indiana Farm Bureau, visited Iowa. He said it looked really bad. Besides, Michigan and Texas arent known as major corn-growing states by any stretch of the imagination.
Indiana is the fifth-leading corn producer in the nation. In 2011, Hoosier farmers were paid $4.8 billion for the corn they produced, according to the most recent figures from the Indiana Corn Marketing Council.
The Department of Agricultures optimism was driven by Fridays annual acreage report that surprised farmers, analysts and commodities traders.
The report, based on farmer surveys, says growers planted 97.4 million acres and will harvest 89.1 million acres. Earlier predictions were 97.3 million acres planted and 89.5 million acres harvested.
Corn prices fell rapidly as the report was released, because it indicated more corn than expected would be available on the market.
Hadley wonders whether all of this is premature.
Its a guesstimation, he said. Im leery about those kinds of numbers.
Hadleys outlook is understandable considering Fort Waynes rainfall this spring.
The National Weather Service reports 12.3 inches of precipitation fell this spring – more than double the amount from a year ago. And June has already registered 4 inches. Last year, not even an inch of the wet stuff had fallen in June.
Id like to hope the estimates are right, Hadley said, but I seriously doubt it.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.